March 09, 2007

Writers, journalists and poets are also not above board

I don't know any Telugu, but this review of a Telugu usage manual makes me uneasy (Ambika Abanth, "Usage in Telugu language", The Hindu, 3/6/2007 -- review of T. Sanjeevarao, Teleugu Ghashalo Melakuvalu):

TO THE author of this book, working with zeal to instill in students clarity and flawlessness while writing and speaking Telugu the prescribed textbooks in schools came as a shock. Misspellings and grammatical errors are in plenty. Further he also observed erroneous usage of the language in newspapers, magazines and the electronic media. Writers, journalists and poets are also not above board. A serious study of this resulted in a series of essays and this volume is a compilation of those articles. The errors are classified as those of ignorance, of carelessness and those arising due to misconceived notions. By repeated usage in print and in day-to-day speech some of the bloomers gained general approval.

Everyone makes mistakes, it's true. But could the Telegu of textbooks, newspapers, magazines, novels, poems -- every writer in every genre -- really be nothing but one "bloomer" after another? Or could this be a compilation of Telegu incorrections?

The review continues:

Most common and basic of these are analysed under various meaningful sub-headings, pointing out the correct forms of these words with grammatical explanations. One feels surprised at the predominance of Sanskrit grammar over Telugu.

One does, does one?

[via AmyP at omnivorous, "Attack of the Language Cranks"]

Posted by Mark Liberman at March 9, 2007 02:52 PM